Species in Scaridae - Fish Identification

Feb 24, 2015 - Parrotfish come in a number of varieties and play different roles on coral reefs
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With so many exotic and unusual creatures awaiting discovery, it would be easy to swim right by a parrotfish without giving it a second glance. Take a closer look, however, and you’ll realize there’s a bit more to the routine comings and goings of these fish than you might at first imagine. Simply getting a positive ID on many varieties can be a challenge, and they always make for willing and interesting subjects for fish portraits. If nothing else, pause for a moment the next time you encounter a parrotfish, and say “thank you” for that wonderful beach you'll be walking later in the day.
Adult  hunt a variety of reef fish, particularly , while their juveniles mostly eat crustaceans such as prawns.
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The process of labeling these underwater chameleons has resulted in some colorful titles. Midnight is an obvious choice for an all-black specimen, and there’s no mystery behind the names of a red or blue parrotfish. But things get more interesting when you start searching for a rainbow, yellowtail, spotted, marbled, rivulated, green snout or blue-barred parrotfish. And as an alternative to using complex colorations, some parrotfish are sorted on physical characteristics, which give us the roundhead, longnose, ragged fins, steephead, heavy beak, spinytooth, knothead, and green humphead parrotfish. Finally, there are those varieties that apparently thwarted all attempts at logical classification, promoting the biologists to come up with more fanciful descriptions to bestow on the princess, queen, regal and festive parrots. May 15, 2015 - Parrotfish come in a number of varieties and play different roles on coral reefs
Photo provided by FlickrParrot fish in Kauai | There are several varieties of parrot… | Flickr
Photo provided by FlickrThere are several varieties of parrot fishes. This one was about on foot long.
Photo provided by Flickr
Parrotfish are technically considered herbivores, however they eat a wide variety of organisms in the coral reef. Some species make coral polyps a regular part of their diet. They use their “beaks” to collect algae and polyps from the coral and rock surfaces. Parrotfish travel in schools and are very indifferent toward humans. They average 7 inches to 24 inches in length. You’ll see many varieties during your snorkeling trip at Hanauma Bay. Parrotfish are very active during the day and stay in the shallower waters of the bay. At night they rest in crevices and some varieties excrete a thick coat of mucus to protect them. If you are snorkeling in the early morning hours or toward dusk you may see some of this mucus in the crevices of rocks and coral formation. There is also a variety of Parrot Cichlid that is quite odd. (As if they aren't odd enough!!) This type is tailless. It's called the "Love Heart" parrot due to its heart-like shape. It's available in both the red and the purple variety. We keep one of these, and despite his missing appendage, he can hold his own in a scuffle and swim as fast as the others in the tank. This is a really unique fish, and tailless trend must be catching on. We are starting to see Discus produced with the missing tail also. Palenose parrotfish (uhu) males are mostly blue, yellow and pink. The females are mottled gray or olive brown. This variety is normally less than 10 inches long. The parrot cichlid is named for the shape of its face which has the appearance of a parrot’s face and beak. The common parrot cichlid comes in a deep orange colouration which gave them the name “Blood Parrot Cichlid”. They also come in a whole variety of colours and patterns which will later be described in more detail. These fish grow to a maximum length of 8 inches (20.32 cm), sometimes more, and they can live for up to 50 years if they are good specimens and very well cared for.